NATO member refuses fuel discounts to allies

Oslo won’t force its companies to sell power under fixed-price contracts, oil ministry says

Norway will not require energy companies to offer long-term fixed-price gas contracts to mitigate soaring costs for European customers, Reuters reports, citing the country’s oil minister, Terje Aasland.

He reportedly rejected the idea, voiced by an MP, that Norway should consider showing solidarity with the European Union by asking companies to offer gas deliveries at fixed prices below current market prices. The minister argued that suppliers were already free to enter into long-term contracts if commercial terms were agreed with customers.

“I do not foresee a policy whereby oil companies on the Norwegian continental shelf are asked to enter into fixed price contracts for gas deliveries,” he added. Aasland wrote in a letter to parliament on Thursday evening, quoted by Reuters. He said Norway should instead focus on delivering as much gas as possible to meet growing demand and remain a reliable supplier.

The minister pointed out that 20 years ago Brussels itself abandoned the practice of long-term contracts in favor of the spot market, and now the Norwegian system « leaves companies the possibility of concluding such contracts, solely on the basis of economic interests ».

Norway, which overtook Russia as the EU’s biggest gas supplier after Moscow cut flows, will cut exports significantly next month due to heavy maintenance activities.

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